Worn out shoes worth 200K Swiss Francs

My Kevin's Chef Shoes, worn out but stayed on for 3 years.
My Kevin’s Chef Shoes, worn out but stayed on for 3 years.
Roll your eyes and raised your eyebrow!


I jumped and raised my hands with a full smile and tears in my eyes..


this is the dream that we chased and owned and will continue to do so


Term 7 is finally done! Waiting for September to seal the degree of Bachelor of Culinary Arts and off to Santa Catalina Island Company , USA as Culinary Arts Management Trainee.

Wow! My emotion is soaring high, I won’t tell you how many times I edited and deleted my words because I know my Chef Kevin doesn’t like drama and flares, he rather take in, all the positivity and let the negativity inspires him to move on. But I would like to share with you that it wasn’t an easy ride for both of us.

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them. and you will have them. ” Mark 11:24 

My budget was only for two years and I told him, if in any case I can’t send you anymore to finish your Bachelors degree, please find a job and continue to pursue your dream. There’s no point of stopping! We tightened our belt, closed our eyes to the things that we don’t need and can afford to do without. I borrowed money from here to there. While others are building their mansions and buying properties,acquiring signature bags and jewelries..I am working hard, saving every amount I can. Every salaries ,it only took seconds in my hand, it goes to pay bills and debt. Kevin was able to adjust to the standard of living and not to the luxuries of other students who has both parents to pay the bills. It was not only financial problem but also adjusting to the new environment, to the new system ,meeting and dealing with different people with a different culture. Being alone in a foreign land without a family to run to every time a mishap happens was a difficult if not the saddest part of being by yourself. I won’t bore you to go on details the low and high moments of what happened in three years but I can share a few :-)..I know..i can hear MOM!!! hahaha

Look at this shoes..this is love..this is hard work..this is the future..

200K tuition fees for 3 years, living expenses, ticket fares etc
200K tuition fees for 3 years, living expenses, ticket fares etc
– going to College at a tender age of 17, knowing the budget is only for two years, the uncertainty..the pressure of finishing on time doubled or even more..

– finishing the full 7 terms in three years, leading to Bachelors Degree is an incredible journey and an awesome accomplishment. My eldest son quotes that stayed on my mind when he was giving his advise to my youngest son.

“Make your own mistake and learn from it , DON”T COPY OURs “

– getting sick all alone by yourself especially the car accident, losing money to bad people, travelling alone with only less than 20 Swiss franc or sometimes only 20 Saudi riyal 🙂  unfortunately at times, we blamed credit cards that doesn’t work!

– working hard on the job training, sometimes you don’t share because you know the weight on my shoulder are already too heavy to carry by one person only.

– and on top of all the difficulties, there was also Dad’s infidelity rumours, those sharp tongue came like sword lashing every strength I have (gossips of mindless people). With your pale lips, trying to smile and gave me comfort, I saw a brave man mightier than I thought; you gave me an extra boots to let it go.  There were also people who were so envious of sending you to Switzerland and made an obnoxious remarks of where will I get money? Are you serious? duh! am I committing a sin?  Switzerland? If a normal office clerk man can send his son in UK what about a Cosmetic Dentist mom? Does this make sense?

With all the adversity….you took it with profound sanity..pound by pound,moment by moment..

My son, Kevin, I am proud of the young man you’ve become, finishing College at age 20! You showed courage ,confidence and dignity that every parent would like to see in their young adult son or daughter. I am honoured to be a part of your journey and I know in every chapter of your life there is always a new beginning. And this is it!  another country, another culture, another experience and I wish you all the happiness and good luck to a new adventure; my nomadic Chef! Explore the world, gather all the spices, make a fusion of each continents’ dishes and make your own signature dish, your own secret spice and conquer the world’s cuisine! Whoa! dream BIG! its free 🙂

This is how you begin your journey at a age 17.
This is how you begun your journey at a age 17. One day will come that you will be standing in front of your own restaurant or bistro 🙂
Ladies, did your eyebrow dropped and your mouth opened with an “O”?, don’t worry I won’t take it against you, because I took it as a challenge and not an obstacle and I can assure you, slowly and surely we will hit the goal!

” I rather spent my money in my son’s education and see a good future ahead of them..than spent It in a beautiful house with an empty mind.”

To my real friends and my special friend..Thank you for all your support,drying my tears and joining my craziness  đŸ™‚ to my 2 brothers here in Jeddah, my boss and staff, thank you for always standing by and to my princess patient who always give a good tip 😉 for my Chef Kevin.

To my eldest son, Edgie thank you so much, I couldn’t do it easier and better without you on my side, thank you for being a confidante and an arbiter between us 🙂

and to all the people around the world who in one way or another  my Nomadic Chef Kevin have had share moments, thank you for  the experience !

Thank you Cesar Ritz College ( Culinary Arts Academy of Switzerland)

God bless.



Weekly photo challenge: the world through your eyes

” A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away” – Eudora Welty 

Since i started blogging and have a camera of my own, these are the places I have been to.. From Philippines to Saudi Arabia to Jordan, Atlanta,Boston,Seattle and to Switzerland.

Weekly photo Challenge – GREEN

I see with my big eyes something that begins with a letter G…green

green grass in Zurich Switzerland
green at chapel bridge
green at lake Luzern
green at chapel bridge
green chair at Luzern park
green at Lucern Switzerland
green at shifa cave
green at al shifa
green at Madain Saleh
green at Madain Saleh




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MOVE OVER – American tourist in Zurich

classic tour in Zurich

Hence, I am flying early back home; I decided to travel a day ahead to Zurich. Travelling alone with a big luggage in tow is a hassle on train but I manage to find my seat. I put my luggage in front besides an empty seat hoping no other passenger will need to sit on it. After a few stops, a smiling couple sits beside me and I am so apologetic about my luggage. They smile, nod their head and shrugged their shoulder off signaling they are not bothered at all. Thank goodness!

Arriving at the Zurich airport on time, I went straight to a waiting hotel shuttle bus. Looking at my watch, I still have the afternoon to see the central town of Zurich. Great!

subway i got to enter to get into the other side of the train station in Kloten

I hurriedly put my things in my room and walk to the train station. The trip took around 20 min and I only have 5 minutes to reach the bus station to where the city tour begins.

inside the subway

It seems the bus is already full when I reach the place but the conductor waves signaling there’s another seat unoccupied.

So I hop in and found the only seat available with a guy sitting with his legs wide open, I politely excused myself to

get into the window seat but he didn’t move at all.

He said, “This seat is too small for two” so I went at the back of the bus trying to find a place and looking to all the passengers, huh! Every seat has two passengers whether fat or thin, big or small, I look again to this guy and he was also thin and definitely I’m not fat! So what’s the problem?

I look at the driver/conductor and with my eyes wide open and arms open, an attitude of “come ‘on do something, where I gonna sit? He got up and with German accent , he talk to the guy whose legs are still widely open, He argues but the driver speaks in German language trying to tell him, this seat is for two understand!

I excused myself again, went to the window seat and the lady (his companion) next to our seat said to him “go to the window so you can see better” so while we are switching I commented, “you know we all paid for this tour, everyone should have a fair share”!

i missed all the nice view

If only I have enough time, I would love to go down from the bus and refund my fare but I remained seated, half of my butt on the seat and half is out (with my eyes rolling , I told myself this is gonna be my day!) The bus started to move, I put my feet firmly on the floor trying to balance so I won’t fall and positioned my camera to take pictures, I want to get his face but I hesitated, not to fuel the fire more than to burst, we are after all in a foreign land. Who needs trouble?

After 20 minutes, he started a conversation, his legs still wide open and half of my butt still out, rolling my eyes again, ah what now?

He asked, from where are you?

Me: from Philippines (my reply is as stiff as my neck, trying to get a good picture of the scenery)

the best i can get (fuming)

He: Oh! a lot of Filipinos in America ( I know you are trying to tell me you are an American)

Me: yeah, of course everywhere there’s a lot of Filipino tourist, here in Europe and in America! Everywhere! (keeping my eyebrow down)

He: I mean Filipina nurses working in a hospital. (His voice more relax so as his legs, my butt still out!)

Me: So you are working as what? (I didn’t roll my eyes, but one eyebrow a little up; I wonder what he is up to)

He: I am a medical doctor.

Me: oh I see, and what specialty? (Professional and an American Doctor, where is your etiquette? Or just simply be a gentlemen!)

He: Neurology (Oh my! And you are acting like that? Have you look around and see all the passengers in two’s seating comfortably) Yesterday, we were on the tour also and it wasn’t like this, the seat are wider.

Me: this is a classic bus, so  what do you expect? I was in Boston last year and they have the same seat, it was fun! (unlike now, thanks to you…)

He: Oh you been to Boston? (This time his legs a bit closing)

this is a memorable picture (really with my butt out)

Me: Yes, I am a Dentist; I did my post grad in Aesthetic Dentistry in University of Minnesota. And now my youngest son is in his first year in Cesar Ritz College of Switzerland. You should visit the Alps, the chocolate factory in GruyĂšre, Geneva, we had great time last year…(in short, mr. american tourist, I am professional and I’ve been to many places in the world but I don’t act like you, we are all tourist after all!)

I felt he moves his butt and closed his legs a bit but I remained seated as before, No way, I won’t move closer to you Mr. American tourist in Zurich!

Just a small note for you: Please the next time you are on tour be kind and be gentlemen!

Good Manners are universal!

MOVE over !

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My Switzerland Escapades 2012 -Lucerne (Luzern) part 1

Lucerne is referred to as “City of Lights”,centrally located at the heart of Europe. It was raining when I arrived with my son who will be  studying at Cesar Ritz College of Switzerland taking up BS in Culinary Arts.

Lucerne is also know as the ” Tourist Capital”  of Switzerland. 

The first thing that caught my eyes when we were walking was “the Chapel bridge” built in 1333, it features a number of gable paintings. Along the side is an octagonal water tower also built-in 13th century.The bridge are lined with flowers , ducks and swans floats around the water.

Samples of paintings

at night

worker in action


a view from the bridge in black and white

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The Swans of Lake Lucerne (Luzern)

Autumn Cheers!

Raining hard when I arrived in Lucerne but it didn’t stop me from taking pictures. The Swan in the lake of Lucerne are tourist friendly.

I enjoy watching them, ignoring the rain (which goes on and off )

I keep on flashing and it seems they enjoying the attention too!

as if trying to impress the onlookers, he dives beautifully

with his head neck twisted

on triangle formation

by two’s

arching his neck again

and again

what a lovely sight!

I can’t stop clicking , I hold my umbrella on one hand, camera on the other hand. Waiting for his wings to flap and looks like sleeping or tired of showing off!

then suddenly…opens his wings

and off they go!

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Flowers of Lucerne (Luzern) – for you

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844.

Words have spoken …Let flowers speak for you on this special day let the world knows how happy and proud I am to be  your mother, friend and confidante. I wish you were with me in Lucerne (Luzern in German)Switzerland. It is always a pleasure to be with you, I surely miss our chit-chat, our common ground (food) hehehe and your camera, or would i say the many sessions of photo shoots!

My wish for you is good health and may your dream turns into reality.

Happy Happy birthday. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

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My Switzerland escapades: Zermatt-Matterhorn to Rothorn Paradise (day 6)

3,000m above sea level

After visiting the campus in Brig,we decided to spend our last day in Switzerland at Zermatt village at the foot of Matterhorn and enjoy the Rothorn paradise ride. huh! waaah… wooo! ahhh! hahaha that’s me! I’m scared of heights but I am turning fifty-two, and I shall face my fear so here we gooooo…3,000 m above sea level.

to Zermatt

the view along the way is so amazing,I feel serenity and peace, mountains, water falls, river, houses with colorful flowers, an urban city in a rural setting.

As we get in Zermatt, the town is completely different,you see only electric cars, no pollution, the air is dry and clean, surrounded by world-class hotel, restaurants and shops (watches, souvenirs, chocolate etc.)

houses along the way

Would i have known before, I would have book a hotel and stays overnight, but too late, we’re going back to Saudi Arabia.

From Brig to Zermatt it’s about 2 hrs. ride then we asked the tourism office what can we do for a day, either we climb to the alps or we stay in pre-alps. Ahhhh, i told kevs, we don’t have the proper clothes to bear the 365 snow mountain, so we choose Rothorn paradise, where we can see the beautiful side of Matterhorn.

to Rothorn paradise

We walk to the tunnel for few minutes then got into Sunnegga express (I would describe it as a chair backward ride up to the mountain) then to Gondolla cable lift. I think my son enjoyed the ride more than me, because i just kept shouting :-), at the end I refused to go up more with him in Rothorn paradise, I’m fine in here, go ahead and enjoy the paradise! I still would like to celebrate my 52nd bday next month. I really don’t know why I’m so scared of heights.

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My Switzerland escapades:Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland- a parent view (day4)

Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland (Le Bouveret campus)
multi -cultural environment

This is it! August 30, 2011, the reason why we’re here? To visit the prospective college Kevin is interested to join, opppps… i would say, I am more enthusiastic than him because he wanted to go to Florida, USA instead. When Kevin was in the middle school, I asked him what he wanted to be, He said with pride” I want to be a chef and open a restaurant for my dad” Although, he loves food and helps me in the kitchen, I did not take it seriously. He loves to play piano when he was small and now he loves to play guitar (he is passionate with music), I was thinking he might change his mind too, about being a chef. One of his passions too is Art, he is good in drawing, photography and recently attended an ID Tech Camp and took a short course in video editing. My eldest son was telling him to get a course that he is passionate about so  he would enjoy his profession afterward.

Yes, I believe that passion creates vision…a beginning to follow our endeavor but sometimes it just doesn’t pay the bills. As the sayings goes, “make a business from your passion and money will follow”.Well, I am not a firm believer of this ,otherwise a lot of people who is passionate about playing tennis,baking, writing will all be rich but we all knew that it doesn’t happened all the time. Having a profession that gives you a leeway financially and at the same time being passionate about it is a bonus in itself.

As a parent, it is also my duty to guide and help him to decide what path of studies he will be following, once he finishes his High School in 2012. So, My research begins, in Arts and Culinary. While Kevin is busy doing his” thing” in the kitchen, experimenting dishes, playing guitar and thinking to get a career in Film (documentary) huh! Sounds confusing… me too! Oh well, mostly of teens are not so sure ; a lot things in their mind, I want to get this, I want to be this..so on and so forth.

Lets break it, 123 passion; 1.Music,2.Chef,3.Film making.Where to study?1. Philippines, 2.Switzerland, 3.USA. We’ve been to Philippines and USA many times but never been to Switzerland. I asked him again, are you still interested in Culinary? Well, mom why do you think, I am always in the Kitchen cooking? Because you love food and want to eat!*wink* :-)Nice try mom! I want to know if I really enjoy doing it! Alright Kevin..I got it!

As I goggle the best Culinary School in Switzerland, Culinary Arts Academy of Switzerland, pops up…I read their curriculum and I found that on the 1st year, a student will earn a Swiss advanced certificate and will have 6 months paid internship, 2nd year Swiss higher diploma and another 6 months internship until they graduate on the 3rd year of Bachelors degree in Culinary arts, a total of 7 terms. Or you can take up Bachelor in International Business Management (Hotel and Tourism Management). They have  two campuses, Le Bouveret (Swiss-French border) and the German side (Brig). To find out more, please visit www.RITZ.EDU

On my point of view, this is a well planned curriculum, I am already 52 years old, I will never know if anything happens to me, will Kevin be able to earn his Bachelor degree? At least if he got his first year certificate and internship, he has something in his CV to start with. But of course, as long as I am able, I will continue to support him until he gets his Bachelor degree or even until Master degree, God willing. 🙂

After discussing it with Kevin, I sent an e-mail and I immediately got a response from Ms. Laure Parfaite (International Admission Councilor) and received an invitation to visit from Ms. Jenai Oliveira (Area Manager) with outlined schedule of campus tour, classes and complimentary accommodation for him to have a better feel of how student life in both campuses.

along the road
walking from La Lagune rive bleu

Day 4,of  Switzerland escapades; walk…walk… with Kevin’s luggage from the Hotel to Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland; It took us around 20 minutes, I was dressed white with blue blazer (2 years ago my most comfortable attire is shirt and jeans, Kevin would comment on some occasions “dress like a mom”) there you go, I am dressed like a mom 🙂 another request from him, NO PICTURE pls!

good day!
overlooking lake Geneva

As we entered, we were greeted with a smiling front desk officer, he took Kevin’s luggage and we were ushered to their bar lounge (they are after all..a Hotel School). Miss Laure, is a very young lovely lady who toured us around the campus, along the way, we met a lot of Professors, students, staff, executive chef who are all very hospitable and accommodating. Each one gave Kevin some pointers and advises on how to choose his path to success. What I noticed most , students are coming from different culture (Arab, Asian,Europeans etc) which is a  real practical experiences for students on culinary, academic and hospitality.

The kitchens are super, neat and clean; we had the chance to dine in, which was prepared by the students like we were in the real setting with real chef! Kevin was able to attend a class (Baking) with complete uniform, he really enjoyed the day and hang out with Korean students and stayed one night before we move in to another Campus in Brig.

Lunch with Ms. Laure and Kevin
chairs for unwinding thoughts

PS…Students takes 3 levels of French Language to pass the term! :-))

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